Sometimes, you get to books in a pretty complicated way. For The Day Is Ready For You, for example, I found it because I really like Amanda Lovelace’s poetry collection (review tpshito, review twdbito). Her husband, Cyrus Parker, is also a poet – I haven’t gotten to his work yet, but from what I’ve seen of it, I feel like I would probably like it a lot as well. And Cyrus recommended, recently, the work of Alison Malee which was now available on Netgalley for reviewing. Long story short: I was interested, I got it, I read it – and now I’m reviewing it 🙂
“I will tell you
again and again:
in some small way,
The Day Is Ready for You is a prose and poetry collection weaving together the fractured, gritty pieces of the past, and the light that can break through an open window if you let it.
This is the first book of a two-book series about grace, heartbreak, and breathing freely.”
When I first read about this book, it was described as a poetry collection that is actually somewhere between poetry and prose, and that’s basically exactly what this book was. The book is divided into three sections that, while similar, all have a slightly different subject. All have as a recurring theme the concepts of love and confidence, albeit with a different accent.The first two sections, “unmovable things” and “a restless pause”, probably spoke to me more than the third one, “prayers like exhales”.
Modern poetry seems to have a very clear aesthetic in that aspect that it leans closer to prose. The focus is completey unlike the epic poems from the greeks or even the classic “rhymes” that we often think of when we hear “poetry”. The accent in modern poetry is usually more so on the poetic use of language and punctuation.
so when i tell you i am drowning, i mean that, today, the loss sits on my chest less like a paperweight and more like air turned carbon monoxide without warning.
Alison Malee takes that a bit further, actually, and seems to be constantly balancing on the very edge between prose and poetry, verging sometimes more so in the one or the other, but never losing sight of the overall tone. If you had to pin it down, you could probably say the author writes prose but uses poetic meanings. Or she writes poetry, but uses prose to express that. Basically: if you want, you could probably read most poems from The Day Is Ready For You out loud and not sound too weird.
As I mentioned above, the first two sections spoke to me more than the last did, probably. That being said, maybe my favourite poem from the entire collection was part of the third section:
what witchcraft it is
that the sun
rises every morning
and does not ask
if it is time,
or if the sky is ready,
or if she has permission
to burn and
what a treacherous thing,
this knowing your power.
this recognizing your worth.
Quite frankly, I could go on giving you sections I highlighted, or particular quotes I really loved. Even when the themes of certain poems spoke to me less, I could not help but appreciate the way Alison Malee manages to use double entendre and at the same time make herself crystal clear.
The rating: 3.75/5
I think I had the bad luck of reading The Day is Ready For You right after I finished The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One, which hit me right in the feels. In comparison, The Day Is Ready For You, seemed to me slightly less powerful. That is not to say I did not 100% enjoy reading this. This collection is only the first in a two-part series, and I’m really looking forward to reading the next part as well. The author’s writing is pretty amazing already, I cannot wait to see what she does in her next work.
P.S. One more quote for the road:
everything begins before you tell it to.